After a long, cold winter, nothing feels better than spending time outside in the warm spring sun – unless you have allergies.
When plants grow and bloom in the spring, they also produce pollen. Pollen is what causes your allergies to flare up. Plants release tiny pollen grains that fertilize other plants of the same species. Pollen from trees, weeds and grasses are light enough to travel by wind and cause the most problems.
If you are allergic to a type of pollen, you might have what most people call “hay fever.” Experts call it “seasonal allergic rhinitis.”
What Are the Symptoms of Spring Allergies?
When you are allergic to pollen, your immune system sees it as a foreign substance. This causes your immune system to react. It can cause these symptoms:
- Runny nose and mucus production
- Itchy nose, eyes, ears and mouth
- Stuffy nose (nasal congestion)
- Red and watery eyes
- Swelling around the eyes
If you have allergic asthma, you might also have asthma symptoms when pollen counts are high.
How Can I Get Relief From Spring Allergies?
One of the best ways to manage your spring allergy symptoms is to see a board-certified allergist. An allergist can help you come up with a plan to treat your allergies.
Your allergy treatment plan may involve:
- Taking allergy medicines before your allergy season begins
- An Immunotherapy option for your type of allergy
Also, follow these tips to control pollen in your home so when you return indoors, your exposure to pollen is reduced:
- Keep windows closed.
- Remove your shoes before entering your home.
- Don’t allow pets on your bed or in your bedroom.
- Take a shower, wash hair and change clothes at night to remove pollen.
- Use allergy covers on your pillows and mattresses.
You can also follow these tips to reduce your pollen exposure while you are outside:
- Avoid going outdoors during peak pollen times. Pollen is usually highest from 5 to 10 a.m. and at dusk. Pollen is also higher on warm, breezy days.
- Wear a hat to cover your hair.
- While in the car, set your air conditioner to the “recirculate air” setting.
You don’t have to dread spring allergies. With the right treatment, you can keep your spring allergies under control and still enjoy the season.